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  1. #1
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
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    M&K Sound S300 Series Bookshelf Speakers Reviewed

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    M&K is a name I haven't heard much from lately, so I was surprised to see Bob Barrett's review of one of their speakers on HomeTheaterReview.com.

    Once a major player in home theater, Miller & Kreisel Sound was founded by audio retailer Jonas Miller and audio engineer Ken Kreisel. The two lead M&K for 40 years, until the company closed their doors in 2007. Soon after, the company was bought by a Danish company, who recently opened a US marketing office in Los Angeles.

    The S300 is the company's attempt to top the S150 which according to their website, has been the flagship model since 1997. The 40 pound 15.5" x 13.4" x 13.0” cabinet, houses two 6.5" woofers and an array of three, one inch dome tweeters. The speaker is rated at four ohms, with a frequency response of 60Hz-22kHz.

    From Bob's review:

    Performance
    I was informed by M&K Sound that the S300 Series review samples were already broken in and ready for use. Regardless, I watched a couple of movies and listened to some music to help dial-in speaker positioning before going about any critical listening for this review. Once everything was in order, I decided that I would start with some movie clips. The first clip I chose was the opening scene of Casino Royale on Blu-ray, my favorite James Bond movie. In this scene, Bond is in Madagascar chasing after the character Mollaka, a globe-trotting bombmaker-for-hire. When the first explosion occurred, I literally felt the blast hit me in the chest. That got my attention. When the bullets started flying, the S300T tripoles really came to life, sending bullets whizzing just over my head from behind. Now I felt like I was in the middle of the gun battle, sitting just a little lower in my seat. The overall balance of the S300 monitors, S300T surrounds, and X12 sub had me glued to my seat - so much so that I ended up watching the entire movie. At this rate, the review was going to take some serious time, but I wasn't complaining.

    Next I moved on to the Mini car-chase scene in The Bourne Identity on Blu-ray, one of my favorite chase scenes. The M&K speakers made the chase such a thrill ride, bringing realism to every screech of the tires, every forced shift of the gears, every power slide, and every collision. These speakers just have a captivating way of reproducing every sound effect with lifelike accuracy, and that proved to be the case with every movie I watched.

    To find out if M&K Sound's claim that the S300 Series were equally great with music, I selected some two-channel tracks. I listened to "Stay With Me" from Sam Smith's debut album In the Lonely Hour (Capitol). I listened first with the sub off and then with it turned on. With the sub off, the sound was just a tad thin. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, but I've heard this track sound better with my reference system. With the sub added to the mix, there was a bit more bass foundation present, leading to a fuller, richer sound overall. Sam's remarkable voice is a perfect match for this torch song. With the sub engaged, the bass drumbeat at the beginning of the song carried a bit more weight.

    To evaluate the S300's ability to create an accurate soundstage with both instruments and voices, I listened to "They Can't Take That Away From Me" on Diana Krall's Love Scenes disc in the SACD 5.1 format. I'm very familiar with this recording and have found it to be a good test of a speaker's ability to create a realistic soundstage. My reference speakers do a superb job of locking the performers into precise positions not only across the soundstage, but also within its depth. Less-capable speakers tend to smear the performers' locations and slightly compress the soundstage width. With the S300 Series monitors, the performers were absolutely in their correct positions within the soundstage.

    When I felt in the mood for some classic rock, I turned to the Eagles' Farewell I Tour on Blu-ray. This concert, recorded in Melbourne, was so much fun when listening through the M&K Sound speakers. The Eagles are my all-time favorite rock band. The X12 sub re-created just the right punch from Don Henley's kick drum, and the S300 Series speakers re-created the voices, guitars, and horn instruments with a lifelike accuracy and balance that made you feel much closer to the actual performance. I found myself turning up the volume as I continued to listen.

    Overall, the M&K speakers made every Blu-ray concert I listened to such a blast. They always provided a balanced, lifelike, "you are there" sound experience. When a speaker can grab your attention in that way, you know you're on to something special.
    -------------------
    Conclusion
    Let's just cut to the chase. The M&K Sound S300 Series speakers are the best monitor loudspeakers I've ever had the pleasure of hearing in my room. I know that, over the last several weeks, I've spent a lot more time than usual in the media room just enjoying music, concert videos, and movies. The S300 Series exemplifies what is currently possible from a state-of-the-art home theater surround sound monitor system. The combination of the S300 monitors, the S300T tripole surrounds, and the X12 subwoofer forms a 5.1-channel system that delivers every nuance of music and every explosive movie moment with authority, accuracy, and balance...all while never breaking a sweat. Whether it truly offers twice the performance and quality of its predecessor is up to each potential buyer to decide for themselves. But if you're looking to assemble a state-of-the-art home theater sound system without the imposition of floorstander speakers and you have the financial means to play in this space, I strongly recommend that the M&K S300 Series speakers be on your short list for audition.
    Read Bob's review in its entirety by clicking on the link above.

  2. #2
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    I was actually the first one to receive these speakers for review and I really liked them. In fact, I would have bought them if my daughter wasn't going to cost me an arm and a leg to educate the next 4 years. Here's a link to my review and it looks like Bob and I had similar feelings about the speakers: M&K Sound S300 Speaker System | Sound & Vision
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  3. #3
    Administrator Tracy Rainwater's Avatar
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    Although I didn't know about your review being the owner of the S150s, I knew this thread would catch your attention.

    While I do not doubt their sonic prowess, the company made a significant leap in price on the S300 vs the S150. I know prices must be adjusted for inflation, but do they warrant the big difference in price?

    What is it; $1000 each vs $3500 each?

  4. #4
    Senior Member David Vaughn's Avatar
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    The build quality is superior on the S300s...they are built like tanks. One thing to realize, the S150's would be like a BMW 5 series and the S300's would be a BMW 7 series. They still sell S150s, but the S300s are a superior beast. The midrange is where I heard a significant difference..much deeper sound stage. Not to say that the S150's are bad by any stretch, but the S300's bring something additional to the table. As for the subwoofer, the X12 is simply amazing. Best I've ever heard, in fact.
    David Vaughn
    Technical Writer/Blu-ray Reviewer
    Sound and Vision Magazine

  5. #5
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    I own a couple of vintage M&Ks as well. Like the new models - these 1980s SX series speakers use multiple woofers and tweeters.

    Using multiple tweeters may sacrifice some imaging quality - at least in theory - but off-axis dispersion for "effects" is probably a bigger benefit.

    I also own B&W 685s and 686s and several other "bookshelf systems" - so color me "respectful" of M&Ks sonic-value and manufacturing heritage - hope it continues.........

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